By Derek Bilton
'Hunger knows no friend but its feeder'. So mused the old comic playwright of ancient Greece Aristophanes.
And if there is a hungrier fighter in world boxing right now Gennady Golovkin, then I have yet to stumble upon him.
This weekend IBO/WBA world middleweight champion Golovkin makes his US debut against European champion Grzegorz Proksa in New York.
It's an intriguing fight and should tell us plenty about how good Golovkin, a native of Kazakhstan now living and fighting out of Germany, really is.
He has done nothing wrong as a pro so far, streaking to 23-0 and all but three of those wins have come inside schedule.
Golovkin won silver at the same Olympics where Amir Khan first emerged as a world star, but unlike Khan his career to date has been played out under the radar.
He's spent most of his career in Germany but fought in Ukraine last time out and in June of last year popped up in Panama of all places to score a very tidy TKO stoppage win against Kassim Ouma.
A fine amateur, Golovkin reportedly went 350-5 with wins against Lucian Bute, Andre Dirrell and Andy Lee among others, he has failed to hit the heights as a pro but his team see this as his breakout fight.
HBO will be televising in the States (Sky in the UK) and in Proksa he faces a willing dance partner. The Pole beat decent but faded Sebastian Sylvester for the European title but then lost it in a huge shock against Welshman Kerry Hope.
He bounced back to stop Hope and regain his belt but that was in July so one wonders how much prep time he's actually had for this?
Golovkin is a 1/3 shot but I seriously don't think there will be many better 11/10 shots doing the rounds this weekend than Ladbrokes have about him winning inside the distance. He has an 86% KO ratio and looks to be cut from a different cloth.
Elsewhere this weekend we have another fascinating middleweight unification battle as WBA 'Super' champion Felix Sturm defends puts his title on the line against Aussie livewire Daniel Geale.
Sturm is a gnarled, ring savvy operator who has punched out a 37-2-2 (16) record since turning over way back in 2001. He was robbed on his biggest night back in 2004 when most people thought he had done enough to see off Oscar De La Hoya in Las Vegas for the WBO middleweight title.
But he's had a good career since and is a big name in Germany, where Saturday's fight takes place. A split decision win over Matthew Macklin and a controversial draw with Martin Murray in 2011 suggested he was a fighter on the slide but he looked great last time out in halting the capable Sebastian Zbik.
He starts as favourite over Geale but at 4/6 it's clear the layers are unsure who will prevail. Geale has lost just once in 28 pro outings and knows how to win in Germany having ripped the IBF belt from the aforementioned Sylvester.
He is game and always in shape but I'm not sure he has the power to topple Sturm, who looks the pick to get his hand raised again (and don't be surprised if the decision is controversial).
Tags: Felix Sturm , Gennady Golovkin , Daniel Geale , Grzegorz Proksa , Sturm-Geale , Sturm vs Geale , Golovkin-Proksa , Golovkin vs Proksa